Major depression is a type of mood disorder. It’s also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression. There are 3 main types of depression:
Major depression goes beyond the day’s normal ups and downs. It involves a teen’s body, mood, and thoughts. It can affect and disrupt eating, sleeping, or thinking patterns.
Depression has no single cause. Many factors, such as genetics and the environment, play a role.
A teen may be more likely to have major depression if he or she has:
Each teen with major depression may have different symptoms. A teen often needs to have several of these symptoms during the same 2-week period to be diagnosed with major depression.
A teen with major depression may have other mental health problems, such as substance abuse or an anxiety disorder. So early diagnosis and treatment is important to your teen getting better.
Treatment will depend on your teen’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Major depression can often be treated. Treatment may include one or more of the following:
Without treatment, major depression can last for weeks, months, or years. It can cause relationship and social problems. Depression is also linked to a higher risk for suicide. This risk rises when the depressed teen has other mental health problems. These include conduct disorder and substance abuse. This is especially true for teen boys.
Researchers don’t know how to prevent major depression in a teen. But knowing the risk factors, spotting it early, and getting expert help for your teen can help ease symptoms and improve your teen’s quality of life.
As a parent, you play a key role in your teen’s treatment. Here are things you can do to help:
For several reasons, many parents never seek the right treatment for their teen with depression. This is true even though many people with major depression who seek treatment get better. They often improve within weeks. Continued treatment may help keep symptoms from coming back.
Call your healthcare provider right away if your teen:
Call 911 if your teen has suicidal thoughts, a suicide plan, and the means to carry out the plan.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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